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Friday 08 December 2023  
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Home » Social Dealings » Marriage and Engagement

Marriage with the intention to divorcing after a Time Period.

A person is going abroad to study and he wants to protect his chastity there by getting married for a specific period of time. Afterwards, he will divorce his wife although he does not inform her that he is planning on divorcing her after a specific time period. What is the ruling concerning such behaviour?

Marriage with the intention of divorce must fall into one of two cases.

First, it is explicitly stipulated in the marriage that the marriage is for a month, a year or until he finishes his studies and so forth. This is known as Mut'ah. This is forbidden.

The second case is where the person has that as his intention [in his heart] but it is not put as a stipulation in the contract. The widespread opinion among the Hanbalis is that that is forbidden and that the contract is void. They say that what is intended is equivalent to what is actually stipulated, since the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) said,

"Indeed actions are based upon intentions and for everyone is what he intended." [1]

They also say that if a man marries and plans on divorcing a thrice-divorced woman simply in order to make her permissible for her previous husband, that marriage is not valid even if what was intended is not stipulated in the marriage contract. Again, this is because what is intended is like what is stipulated. So if the intention of making the wife “legal” for her previous husband makes the contract null and void, the intention to perform [something similar to] Mut'ah also makes the contract null and void.

The second opinion among the scholars is that it is permissible for the man to marry that women with the intention that he will divorce her after he leaves her land, such as those who got o the West to go to study or for other purposes. They say that it is sound because it is not stipulated in the contract and this distinguishes it from Mut'ah. Furthermore, in the case of Mut'ah, as soon as the period finishes, the two are separated whether they still want that or not. In this case, though it could be the case that he desires his wife and decides to remain with her. This is one of the opinions of held by Shaykhul Islaam ibn Taymiyyah.

In my opinion, such a marriage is not Mut'ah since it does not meet the definition of Mut'ah. However, it is still forbidden since it is a type of deception of the wife and her family. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) has forbidden deception and mendacity. If the women knew that the man only intends to be married with her for that specific time, she would not agree to the marriage nor would her family. In the same way, he would not be pleased to marry his daughter to a man who intends to divorce her when he has fulfilled his need from her. How can he be pleased with doing to others what he would not be pleased to have done to himself? This goes against the foundation of faith.

The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) has stated,

"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself" [2]

I have also heard that this opinion has led some people to do something that none of the scholars would be in agreement with. That is, some people travel to such lands with the sole purpose of performing such a marriage and then they return to their countries. This is also a greatly forbidden act.

Therefore, one must close the door that leads to such a possible practice. Furthermore, the act contains deception and cheating. It opens a very dangerous door since people, in general are ignorant and most of the peoples desires will not keep them from violating what Allah has prohibited.


[1] Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

[2] Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen
Islamic Fatawa Regarding Women - Darussalam Pg. 190-192
Other subjects of interest:

Marriage and Engagement
Family and Society
Divorce and Separation
Child Custody
Buying and Selling
Loans and Mortgages

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